The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Opening Day: Dodgers Face Timmy and the Giants

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Get Ready for Opening Day

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March 18, 2011: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is doubled up by the Dodgers' James Loney during a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium.

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On Thursday, Clayton Kershaw will take the hill against World Series champs and league rivals, the San Francisco Giants.

The Dodger ace will face two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. In addition to the magic of Opening Day, this will be the first time the country will get a look at the Giants since they clinched the World Series against the Texas Rangers as it will be aired on ESPN.

The sports network wanted the game to be played on the Giants home turf on the banks of McCovey Cove, but the Dodgers wouldn't play ball, so the Orange and Black will travel to LA Wednesday night after closing out the pre-season with a day game Battle of the Bay against the Oakland A's.

We've heard rumblings that the game is sold out, although it appears a few of the pricier seats are still available through Ticketmaster. Game starts at 5 p.m.

For the Dodger's the game will mark the first season under the Don Mattingly flag. The Yankee great took over as manager after Joe Torre retired at the end of last season. Manny Ramirez is also long gone, after enjoying his last Dodger at bat in true Manny fashion. He was ejected after arguing a first-pitch called strike.

The Dodgers are looking to regroup from last year's lackluster season. This year will come down to the team's inconsistent (that's being generous) pitching staff, and some even bigger questions (aka: will the real James Loney please stand up?).

"It's a new year, that's for sure," Mattingly told the Associated Press. "To be honest, every club in baseball right now has got a good attitude and feels pretty good about their team and all that stuff."

"Last year is over and it was a learning experience for the whole team," he said. "We went home over the winter and came back with a new outlook. All signs and indications up to this point have shown that.''

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